Home Strategy Epson sells 30 millionth ink tank printer
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Emerging markets have proved fertile ground for Epson's EcoTank printers.

A frequent complaint about inkjet printers is the high cost of ink when purchased in the usual small cartridges. Buying ink in bottles is a lot cheaper, but traditionally this meant using third-party ink (which may or may not have given similar results to the OEM ink) and refilling the cartridges.

In 2010, Epson started selling inkjet printers with high-capacity ink tanks that could be refilled from bottles of "genuine" ink. Sales started in Indonesia, and subsequently spread to about 150 countries and regions.

The company has now sold 30 million of these printers worldwide, retaining marketshare leadership in this category.

Epson has now set itself the goal of making ink tank models the mainstream of the inkjet market, and to "promote the replacement of laser printers with high-capacity ink tank inkjet printers by enhancing its lineup with products with overwhelming cost performance and enhanced easy-of-use".

The plan is to sell 9.5 million ink tank printers in the financial year ending March 2019, which would be an increase of 20% on the previous year and approximately 55% of Epson's total inkjet printer sales.

"High-capacity ink tank inkjet printers have a low environmental footprint, have lower running costs, and allow users to print freely and with less effort compared to laser printers and ink cartridge printers," said Seiko Epson printing solutions operations division director, senior managing executive officer and chief operating officer, Koichi Kubota.

"Epson has transformed the printer business model, and will continue to provide comfortable printing environments that allow our customers around the world to demonstrate their creativity and enjoy high productivity."

Generally speaking, the choice between cartridge and ink tank inkjets comes down to how many pages will be printed. Cartridge-based printers are relatively cheap to buy, but replacement cartridges are costly. Ink tank printers are a lot more expensive, but the ink cost per page is a lot lower, so once a certain output volume is reached the total cost per page is also lower.

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Stephen Withers

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Stephen Withers is one of Australia¹s most experienced IT journalists, having begun his career in the days of 8-bit 'microcomputers'. He covers the gamut from gadgets to enterprise systems. In previous lives he has been an academic, a systems programmer, an IT support manager, and an online services manager. Stephen holds an honours degree in Management Sciences and a PhD in Industrial and Business Studies.

 

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